[from History of IoM, 1900]



3. Revenue and Taxation.

The sources from which, during the period of the dominion of the Stanleys, the lord's revenues were derived were the following :

Quit rents,1 and customs 2 from the lord's and abbey lands.
Demesne lands.
Boon, or carriage, services.
Custom corn, ling and turf for the garrisons.
Herring customs.
Fines imposed by the officers of the spiritual courts.
Fines paid by the summer general, sumners, coroners, and moars, for their offices.
Pinfold fines.
Fines for naturalization of aliens.
Rents of river fishing and of mines.
Treasure trove and deodands.
Toll on corn ground at the lord's mills.
Customs duties.

Some of these items require a brief explanation. The quit rents, except for a brief period after 1601, when they were doubled in lieu of the customs for the garrisons, scarcely varied in amount till 1643. In that year many of the tenants got rid not only of some of the customary payments to the garrisons, but of other burdensome customary obligations, by undertaking to pay a double rent.4

The boon, or carriage, services were four days' labour of men and horses from each quarterland, and one day of like labour from every intack and cottage.5 These services were rendered for the support of the garrisons and for the rebuilding and repairing of the forts and lord's houses. None were free from them, except the clergy, the civil and military officers, and the Keys. 6

The customs, corn, &c., for the garrisons originated in the necessity of providing for the defence of the island. In the words of the Exchequer Book, the power of the inhabitants being " small and in practice of warr unskillfull," 7 the lord sent " foarth of England certan soldiers, both for the defence of the two castles, and safe keeping of the said People and Isle." 8 It was thereupon agreed between the lord and the people that the latter were to supply the soldiers with. a certain quantity of " victuals and fire " gratuitously, but that, if this quantity were exceeded, they were to be paid for the excess.9

Herring customs were duties paid for the liberty of fishing for herrings.10

The frequent mention of tolls on corn ground at the lord's mills in the Records shows that they were regarded as an important source of revenue. In accordance with customary law, every tenant was obliged to go to a certain mill to have his corn ground, and, if it got out of repair, he was bound to assist in making it good again, without receiving any remuneration, and, since it was the lord's interest that all corn should be ground at these mills (he receiving a fine or rent), no other mills were permitted. It would appear, however, as a result of an enquiry in 166, that the collection of this " Mulcture, Toll, and Soken," 11 as it was called, had been neglected, that many of the mills had fallen into decay, and that new mills had been erected which paid no fine to the lord. It was, therefore, ordered that the new mills were to be demolished, and the lord's mills re-erected, also that no licence was henceforth to be given to erect mills except by the lord. In 1647, Earl James went so far as to attempt to prevent the people from grinding any corn whatever for themselves, all hand-mills or " querns " being ordered to be destroyed. 12, This order was, however, to a very large extent evaded, and the hand-mills continued to be used.13

The first mention of customs duties occurs in 1422 (though they were doubtless in existence at an earlier date), 14 when the water bailiff was ordered to have deputies 15 in every port to look after the lord's interests and to collect duties.16 In 1561, the Commissioners of Edward, Earl of Derby, ordered " that the clark of the shipps do make a perfect book of all such wares as the merchant stranger shall bring into the country, and how and to whore the said wares are distributed, and what wares he shall carry out of Mann, and how much custome is due for the same." 17 The earliest list of customs duties of which there is any record is given in the Statute Book in 1577.18 Even considering the values of commodities at the time they are remarkably low.19

Total amount of revenue

It is stated in the Preamble to the Revesting Act that the total revenues of the island in 1406 did not exceed .400,20 but, if this were so, they must have increased very rapidly, for, in 1511, the money rents of the lord's lands alone amounted to 700; in 1608, the lord's rents, together with the customary payments to the garrisons, &c., were estimated at 1,231; 21 and, in 1609, when the abbey rents were acquired, their total was about 1,430.22 Taking, then, all the other ascertainable sources of revenue at 370 (consisting of boon or carriage services, 23 130; customs, 62; 24 demesnes, 70 ; herring customs,25 20; and sundries, 88 26), we get a total of about 1,600 27 for the period between 1406 and 1610 (probably much less during its earlier part and rather more during its latter part), of about 1,800 between 1610 and 1643, and considerably more during the exceptional period 1643-1660.28


The expenditure in money, except between 1643 and 1660, was, in comparison to the receipts, very small, its average probably not being more than 300 29 annually,30 including the salaries of the officers 31 and the soldiers of the garrisons. It must be remembered, however, that the household officers, as well as the soldiers, received both board and lodging from the lord.32 Estimating, then, the cost of their maintenance, in excess of the custom corn, &c., received from the tenants, at about 400 a year, it is evident that the Stanleys found their insular estate a profitable one.

The abnormal expenditure and Taxation between 1643 and 1651

But all this was altered between 1643 and 1651, when there was a period of abnormal expenditure and taxation,34 various novel exactions, especially in the form of " benevolences," being imposed on the Manx people.35 No doubt the needs were abnormal also, and Earl James might justly have urged that the people were in a better position to assist him than formerly, that his taxes did not fall on the very poor, that his military outlay had secured Man a period of peace and prosperity when the adjacent islands were in a very distracted state, that his expenses were very heavy,36 and that he and his father were in a much worse monetary position than their predecessors.37 Nevertheless, it was the new taxation that did more than anything else to make the Manx discontented. The victllalling of the earl's English household 38 and of the garrisons was partly provided for out of the customary payments, as was the case before his time, but the numbers of the garrisons had so increased that there were also constant extra levies of corn and meal for their supply and that of the other troops. These additional contributions were nominally voluntary, but, if any refused to give, the two collectors who had been appointed for each parish and town were ordered to assess them.39 At last, in 1649, the people became restive under these abnormal demands, and declined to give any more. The earl consequently addressed an appeal to them, in which he pointed out that "the safetie of their persons, their children, and estates" depended upon his being furnished with means to defend them. Some of the inhabitants thereupon promised to lend him " severall sumes of money and certine quantities of Corne," which he undertook, on behalf of himself and his heirs, to repay " so soon as God shall enable us." 40

In April, 1650, " certaine powder and ammunition " was brought into the country from Holland at a cost of 420. This was paid for by a levy of ten shillings " upon every quarter of land . . . both of Lord's land and Barron's land," and by a contribution from the clergy accordinge to their estates." 40 The practice of imposing extra levies for the support of the garrisons did not cease with the earl's departure, but continued till 1660, being found equally convenient by his immediate successor. 41


1They included mill rents (about 21) and brewing licences (about 4). In the earliest manorial books (of 1511 and 1515) 177 persons are mentioned as holding these licences. (See p. 315.)

2 As far as the lord's lands were concerned these were trifling after 1643 (see book VII, p. 889), consisting mainly of geese and hens, which are now no longer demanded. In the abbey lands, on the contrary, the customary payments in kind were proportionately large, and some of them continue to be made in this way, even at the present day.

3 In 1577, these were fixed at 8d. for a ship with a boat, and, without a boat, 4d. (Statutes, vol. i. p. 38.)

4 For a full discussion of this change see Book VII. pp. 880-893

5" Such as were not disposed to labour paid the sum of 2s. in respect of each quarterland, and 6d. in respect of each inhabited cottage " (Commissioners' Report, 1792, p. 17).

6 Report of the Crown officers of the Isle of Man (Commissioners' Report, 1792, Appendix A, No. 71 ).

7 Lib. Scacc. Commission from the Earls of Salisbury and Northampton to Richard Hoper (1608). See also Knowsley Muniments,1715/5

8 Ibid., 1608.

9 In 1593, it was ordered that " all custome cone and graine " was to be paid yearlie both to the Castle [Rushen] and Peel, in kinde, " and that the custome turff to the garrisons from every quarterland could be commuted for three shillings and fourpence for each quarterland (Ibid.). The quit rents, boon services, and custom corn, &c., may be compared with the services due by villeins in England, which were (1) payments in money, kind, or work; (2) week work, usually three days a weep; (3) boon-work, at special seasons.

10 They were a percentage on the catch of fish, the stranger paying double as much as the native.

11 Statutes, vol. i. p. 85 (1636), and Lib. Scacc. 1630.

12 Lib. Scacc., 1648,

13 Large numbers of them are found at the present day.

14 Customs duties were first regularly granted in England in 1275 to Edward I.

15 These were called " customers " (Rotul., 1529).

16 Statutes, vol. i. p. 17.

17 Ibid., p. 36.

18 Vol. i. pp. 37-40. For summary of the chief duties see p. 456-459. There may, of course, have been an earlier list of "The Dates of the Customes," as they are called, but it is possible that the system in vogue was that of rating mer chandize by the value as sworn by the merchants. This was the system in England till the reign of Queen Mary, when it was superseded by a Book o f Rates, in which the values at which goods were to be rated for the customs were specified. It is a little difficult to tell, in all cases, which were the export, or " outgate," duties, and which the import, or " ingate," in the Manx Customs of 1577, since the only indication given is the occasional use of the words " of the stranger," or " of the Island."

19 Some of these duties were slightly raised in 1642 and 1647, wheat in the former year being charged 8d. a quarter, and wine raised from 6d. to 2s. a tun in the latter. There was a general revision of them in 1648, but there is no account of it recorded.

20 5 Geo. III. c. 26.

21 By a Commission presided over by Richard Hoper (Knowsley Muniments, 1715/5).

22 These rents of about 100 in money and about 100 in customs were granted to the Stanleys by the Crown in 1609. "Rot. Pat. Litt." (Mann; Soc., vol. ix. pp. 99-113).

23 These services might be commuted for a payment of 2s. in respect of each quarterland and 6d. for each cottage, so that, on this basis, they were estimated at 131 9s. (Commissioners' Report, 1792, pp. 17-18).

24 This is an average taken from the only statistics (in the Knowsley Muniments and seneschal's records) obtainable during this period : 1594, 32 ; 1597, 63; 1598, 47 ; 1600, 63 ; 1608, 62; 1609, 32; 1610, 63; 1623. 61 ; 1637, 106; 1638, 88. According to the evidence given before the Commissioners in 1791 these duties did not bring in more than 100 a year on an average before the eighteenth century, but the question does not seem to have been gone into carefully.

25 There are no statistics for these customs at this period, but, judging from what they were somewhat later, there is reason to believe that they did not exceed this amount.

26 This is a very rough estimate from sundry entries in the Records.

27 About 1620 the total revenue was estimated, in a paper endorsed " A project to make profit of the Isle of Man," at 1,974 (Knowsley Muniments, 1716/26), but this is, almost certainly, an exaggeration.

28 For revenue and expenditure during 1.643 to 1660 see pp. 324-6. In 1658, there is a statement giving the receipts at 1,671, but this would not include the been services (Ibid., 1716/29)

29 The state ment in the Act of Parliament conveying the island to Fairfax, that its revenues amounted to about 4,000 annually, is, of course, a gross exaggeration.

30 Statements of accounts in Knowsley Muniments, 1728/1&c , relating to the latter part of this period.

31 All these sums are kept in the Manx currency, which is equal to six-sevenths of the English, 1,000 Manx being equal to 857 English.

32 These, in 1623, were : governor, 80 ; deputy-governor, 10; comptroller, clerk of the rolls, and attorney (held by one man), 8 6s. 8d. ; he also received an annual allowance of 30 for "paper and ink"; water-bailiff, 10; deenmsters, 7 10s. each. The deemsters lived on their own estates, free from rates and customs, till 1645, when, in consideration of their paying these, their salaries were raised to 15. (For salaries of military officers see pp. 334-5.)

33 This continued, as regards the officers, to the end of the Stanley rëgime.

34 Before this time there was no direct money taxation, properly so called, since the payments in kind and the services performed by the tenants may be considered as forming part of their rent.

35. For notice issued to the coroners concerning one of these benevolences see Appendix B. Benevolences were first collected in England in 1473. They were declared illegal in 1484, but were, nevertheless, continued.

36 There seems to be little doubt that the earl's expenses in the island were largely in excess of the revenue he derived from it, though he got considerable sums from the fines charged for renewal of leases (see p. 882). The actual expenditure, as per the comptroller's account for the years 1644 and 1645, was 2,841 0s. 8d. (Rotul.), or, for each year, 1,420 10s. 4d. The keeping up the castles and forts is said to have cost about 400 a year, and the household at Castle Rushen, including payments to the governor and other officers, about 1,000. It may be noted that there were " 2 phisitians, the one for the east, the other for the west part of the Island " (Manx Soc., vol. xxvii. p. 48). There is no account of expenditure in Fairfax's time except of the very large one on the garrison.

37 Lady Derby writes: "-My husband's great-grandfather, whose income was certainly three times as large as ours was" (Lady of Latham, p. 57). It must be remembered that a con. siderable portion of the estate of the fifth earl was not entailed on the heirs male, but was constituted into dowries for his daughters.

38 This required 40 oxen annually, " and for the Lent time herrings and salt fish of all such sorts as the Island will afford; it was also ordered " that there be sent over every year more puffins, at the least [illegible] firkins pickled and illegible] ffirkins soused " (Lib. Scacc., 1630).

39 In 1648, the officers and Keys made the earl "a free guift of _500 in money " (equivalent to about 6,000 at the present day). Lib. Scacc.

40 Ibid. They were never repaid.

41 Thus the following order was issued by Colonel Duckenfield in December, 1651: " Forasmuch as by an order made by the Officers of this Island, It is declared that the ffarmers and other inhabitants of the Isle shall furnish the markets with Corne and other victuall weekelie for the supplie of the Garrisons, the townes-people and poore of the Islande, which order is now much neglected, and eonsideringe the number of soldiers that is now in the severall Garrissons of this Isle, such supplies of Corne and victuall of necessitie must be had, I doe therefore hereby require the Controllr and Clerke of the Roulles to send out precepts to the severall parrishes of the Islande to that effect, that such neglects may be amended. And whereas alsoe there is another order for the rate of Corne not to be above xvjs a boule for wheate and mault and see forth for other graines as by the said order is expressed, I doe looke and expect that the said Controller and Clerke of the Roulles make dilligent inquiries by the Coroners and Lockmen of this Islande, whether any maner of p'son or p'sons of the Isle have transgressed or hereafter shall or doe transgresse or breake the said order, and to take due presentments thereof that soe such fine and punishment may be inflicted as by the tenour of the said order may be warrantable " Again, in 1653, all the farmers of the isle were ordered, "upon consideration of the eminent dangers of the time," to bring a firlett of meal to the garrisons. (Lib. Scacc.)



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